Written by John J. Macey
I it has been here a while....
Google+: A Social Network Even Geeks Can Love?
07/28/11 5:00 AM PT
"Google+ has some nice features, and I really like the way that sorting the friends lists was built in rather than the complete hack of an afterthought it seems to be on Facebook," said consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack. "Unfortunately, for the moment, inertia is still with Facebook, since everyone from old classmates to my grandmother is on it." Gooogle+ may still be in its invitation-only early days, but with all the wild excitement and skyrocketing numbers of users, it's awfully hard to tell.
Quibbles about real-name policies notwithstanding, eager users from virtually every walk of life seem to be flocking to the new social network -- even those of us who are perhaps less than entirely socially minded.
It's not at all surprising, of course, to see your average, run-of-the-mill Facebook fan scampering over to check Google+ out. Such individuals, after all, would likely jump at any opportunity to share photos, updates and every manner of personal details with countless friends far and wide. They are extroverts, in other words, and they *will* share as often and as widely as they can.
'We Love It So'
What's been striking, though -- at least to Linux Girl (my Favorite Linux Girl is NixiePixiel) -- is the more or less positive reception Google+ is getting even among us geeks here in the Linux blogosphere.
"Those of us lucky enough to be on Google+ love it," wrote ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, for example. "Oh, we may get really upset about Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) real name policies, and how Google's attempts to improve it haven't gone far enough. But, we only get so passionate about it because we love it so."
Paris Hilton may have now arrived on Google's social network, but apparently that's not stopping us from finding it useful for our own purposes as well.
So what is it about Google+? What is this "je ne sais quoi" that's attracting both social butterflies and those of us who just aren't? Linux Girl (my favorite Linux Girl) rolled up her sleeves and set out to find out.
'It's Not Facebook'
"Put simply, it's not Facebook," Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza told Linux Girl down at the blogosphere's brand new Circles Cafe. "It has all the same privacy concerns as Facebook, but where Zuckerberg has proven himself to be an evil bastard time and again, Page and Brin have demonstrated a desire to at least do things well."
Users are "dropped from FB regularly without explanation, for example," Espinoza noted. "I don't think anyone believes this is going to be a trend on G+.
"The user interface has improved just in the time I've been using it, and if they can keep up the pace for a few weeks then they ought to be able to sort out the most desired functionality," he added.
3 Cheers for Circles
"I love the Circles feature allowing you to post updates for particular groups," chimed in Roberto Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor. "The J and K keys for scrolling is another nice feature."
Lim has not used Google+ features including Sparks and Hangouts, nor has he installed the Google+ app on his phone, since it's not yet available in his area. He also says he still relies much more on Twitter.
Still, while he doesn't currently see any benefits specific to Linux users, "the main advantage as an HTC Android user is that it allows me to sync updates, phone numbers and email addresses," he added, and it also "reminds me of their birthdays with my phone."
'My Grandmother Is on It'
Consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack was also impressed.
"Google+ has some nice features, and I really like the way that sorting the friends lists was built in rather than the complete hack of an afterthought it seems to be on Facebook," Mack offered.
"Unfortunately, for the moment, inertia is still with Facebook, since everyone from old classmates to my grandmother is on it," Mack added.
'It's Called Marketing'
Slashdot blogger hairyfeet, trust is still an issue.
"Remember how they said, 'Android is open!' and then did an about-face and changed that to, 'Android is open for handset manufacturers!'?" hairyfeet recalled. "Or how they have been asked repeatedly about ties to the NSA and refused to answer?"
Google's "don't be evil" slogan, in fact, is "right up there with 'Think Different' and 'Windows 7 was my idea!'" in hairyfeet's opinion.
"It's called marketing , folks," he said. "You know corporations can lie, yes? Then why would you trust a multinational corporation who has an interest in mining your butt and NO reason not to do whatever it wants with your data?"
In the end, though, "Google+ frankly won't matter anyway, not unless they can somehow buy Zynga," hairyfeet opined. "Don't ask me why but those Zynga games are like catnip to females and the males go where the females are. The females have too much in their Farmville and Frontierville to go anywhere."
All of this stolen from here. It is required. Doing code weaving is fun.
I was running Netflix for about a year, and suddenly they turned me off. The reason: I run Linux UBUNTU as my operating system. It was so sudden, interruptive, and down right rude, that I canceled my membership. Hey, it worked. Why pull the plug on me? Strange...
Anyway, I did a trial of Amazon Prime movies, but was disappointed in the selection there. So, I canceled the trial member ship.
What is a guy (gal) to do? Google for "Free Streaming Movies".
Here are two great free ones that I found:
How I got there is still a puzzle, but this site can be navigated using Piratenz. Just follow the "Direct Links" on the right side of the page and click Vidxden. There is also a bunch of free steraming movie sites that you can try.
Just doing some more Googling I ran across Veehd. If you don't like DVD Rips, Look through the Tag Info and click "dvd". You get available dvds in great quality.
Have fun, and I certainly don't miss Netflix!
Pirate Bay founders lose appeal: jail time reduced, fines raised
It's been a while since the four Pirate Bay founders lost their case in a Stockholm district court -- April 2009, to be more precise. The verdict was of course appealed, but alas, it was not to be. A Swedish appeals court has upheld the original ruling but changed the sentencing. Three of the quartet have had their jail time reduced: Fredrik Neij gets ten months, Peter Sunde eight months, and Carl Lundstrom four (Gottfrid Svartholm was too ill at the time of the hearing; his "criminal liability" will be determined later, according to BBC News). The fine, however, has been upped from the original 30 million kronor to 46 million (US $6.4m). That's seriously going to cut into their Black Friday shopping plans, but hey, we know a great way to pick up the Adobe suite. Well, maybe not.
Who's Afraid Of Apple, Google and Facebook?
From Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Who's Afraid of Apple, Google, Facebook?
Timothy Wu says we should be alarmed by the monopoly powers accumulated by Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Skype, Twitter, Apple, and eBay. Why he's wrong
Timothy Wu, the Columbia University law professor who coined the term "net neutrality," is not someone to be dismissed lightly, especially when it comes to communications and media trends. In his recent book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires—and in a related piece in The Wall Street Journal—Wu argues that just as AT&T was a monopoly during an earlier phase of communications history, companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple now hold what he calls "information monopolies" that could be just as damaging to our society.
Does he present a convincing case that this is true? Not really.
In his Journal op-ed piece, Wu asks: "How hard would it be to go a week without Google? Or, to up the ante, without Facebook, Amazon, Skype, Twitter, Apple, eBay, and Google?" Just for the record, I routinely go days without using Amazon, Skype, or eBay and haven't noticed any problems. I spend most of my time online. In any case, Wu says doing without Google and Amazon would be inconvenient. He goes on to say:
Forgoing Facebook or Twitter means giving up whole categories of activity. For most of us, avoiding the Internet's dominant firms would be a lot harder than bypassing Starbucks, Wal-Mart or other companies that dominate some corner of what was once called the real world.
What Constitutes a Monopoly?
The author goes on to argue that despite the Internet's reputation for encouraging freedom, it looks "increasingly like a Monopoly board," with most of the major sectors controlled by "one dominant company or an oligopoly." According to Wu, search is "owned" by Google, while Facebook owns social networking, eBay rules auctions, Apple "dominates online content delivery," and Amazon owns online retail. But as Adam Thierer has pointed out (so has Mike Masnick, among others), none of these examples—with the possible exception of Google and search—meets any kind of serious test of the term monopoly.
It's not clear what Wu even means by saying that Apple has a monopoly on "online content delivery." He seems to be referring to iTunes and the control the company exerts over distribution of music, movies, books, magazines, and so on, either directly or via its mobile apps. But that doesn't really qualify as a monopoly either: Record labels, movie studios, newspapers, and other content companies are free to distribute their content in other ways to still reach the same audience (or an even broader one), using the Web and other services.
Google probably comes closest to a classic definition of a monopoly. Not so much on the search side, but as it might apply to advertising—particularly search-related advertising, where the company clearly has a dominant position. As a result, Google has already come under scrutiny for acquisitions such as the purchase of the mobile advertising service AdMob (which got cleared after Apple bought Quattro Wireless). Others have recommended that regulators investigate the proposed purchase of the travel-information service ITA as well. Even so, arguing that Google is a monopoly is no slam dunk.
How Would Facebook and Apple Qualify?
Facebook and Apple, meanwhile, don't really fit any definition of monopoly, unless you broaden the definition to mean "a really big company with products that a lot of people use." It may be true that Facebook doesn't make it easy for certain kinds of data to be exported from within its walled garden—something recently criticized by the father of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee—but that doesn't make it a monopoly. If Facebook were a monopoly, Friendster and MySpace could just as easily have been accused of being monopolies when they were top dogs in social networking. Today, they offer proof of the fragility of such a position.
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